Abundance analysis of prime B-type targets for asteroseismology I. Nitrogen excess in slowly-rotating beta Cephei stars

Astronomy and Astrophysics (Impact Factor: 4.48). 07/2006; DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20065171
Source: arXiv

ABSTRACT We present the results of a detailed NLTE abundance study of nine beta Cephei stars, all of them being prime targets for theoretical modelling: gamma Peg, delta Cet, nu Eri, beta CMa, xi1 CMa, V836 Cen, V2052 Oph, beta Cep and DD (12) Lac. The following chemical elements are considered: He, C, N, O, Mg, Al, Si, S and Fe. Our abundance analysis is based on a large number of time-resolved, high-resolution optical spectra covering in most cases the entire oscillation cycle of the stars. Nitrogen is found to be enhanced by up to 0.6 dex in four stars, three of which have severe constraints on their equatorial rotational velocity, \Omega R, from seismic or line-profile variation studies: beta Cep (\Omega R~26 km/s), V2052 Oph (\Omega R~56 km/s), delta Cet (\Omega R < 28 km/s) and xi1 CMa (\Omega R sin i < 10 km/s). The existence of core-processed material at the surface of such largely unevolved, slowly-rotating objects is not predicted by current evolutionary models including rotation. We draw attention to the fact that three stars in this subsample have a detected magnetic field and briefly discuss recent theoretical work pointing to the occurrence of diffusion effects in beta Cephei stars possibly capable of altering the nitrogen surface abundance. On the other hand, the abundances of all the other chemical elements considered are, within the errors, indistinguishable from the values found for OB dwarfs in the solar neighbourhood. Despite the mild nitrogen excess observed in some objects, we thus find no evidence for a significantly higher photospheric metal content in the studied beta Cephei stars compared to non-pulsating B-type stars of similar characteristics. Comment: Accepted for publication in A&A, 21 pages, 7 figures

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    ABSTRACT: Fundamental parameters of a sample of 26 apparently slowly-rotating single early B-type stars in the solar neighbourhood are presented and compared to high-precision data from detached eclipsing binaries (DEBs). The data are used to discuss the evolutionary status of the stars in context of the most recent Geneva grid of models. Evolutionary masses plus radii and luminosities are determined to better than typically 5%, 10%, and 20% uncertainty, respectively, facilitating the mass-radius and mass-luminosity relationships to be recovered with a similar precision as derived from DEBs. Good agreement between evolutionary and spectroscopic masses is found. Absolute visual and bolometric magnitudes are derived to typically 0.15-0.20mag uncertainty. Metallicities are constrained to better than 15-20% uncertainty and tight constraints on evolutionary ages of the stars are provided. Signatures of mixing with CN-cycled material are found in 1/3 of the sample stars. Typically, these are consistent with the amount predicted by the new Geneva models with rotation. A few objects are possibly the product of binary evolution. In particular, the unusual characteristics of tau Sco point to a blue straggler nature, due to a binary merger. The accuracy and precision achieved in the determination of fundamental stellar parameters from the quantitative spectroscopy of single early B-type stars comes close (within a factor 2-4) to data derived from DEBs. However, significant systematic differences with data from the astrophysical reference literature are found. Masses are about 10-20% and radii about 25% lower then the recommended values for luminosity class V, resulting in the stars being systematically fainter than assumed usually, by about 0.5mag in absolute visual and bolometric magnitude. (abstract abridged)
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 12/2014; 566. DOI:10.1051/0004-6361/201423373 · 4.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Context. A precise quantitative spectral analysis, encompassing atmospheric parameter and chemical elemental abundance determination, is time-consuming due to its iterative nature and the multi-parameter space to be explored, especially when done by the naked eye. Aims: A robust automated fitting technique that is as trustworthy as traditional methods would allow for large samples of stars to be analyzed in a consistent manner in reasonable time. Methods: We present a semi-automated quantitative spectral analysis technique for early-type stars based on the concept of χ2 minimization. The method's main features are as follows: far less subjectivity than the naked eye, correction for inaccurate continuum normalization, consideration of the whole useful spectral range, and simultaneous sampling of the entire multi-parameter space (effective temperature, surface gravity, microturbulence, macroturbulence, projected rotational velocity, radial velocity, and elemental abundances) to find the global best solution, which is also applicable to composite spectra. Results: The method is fast, robust, and reliable as seen from formal tests and from a comparison with previous analyses. Conclusions: Consistent quantitative spectral analyses of large samples of early-type stars can be performed quickly with very high accuracy.Based on observations made with ESO Telescopes at the La Silla Paranal Observatory under program IDs 074.D-0021(A), 088.A-9003(A), and 091.C-0713(A). Based on observations made with the Nordic Optical Telescope, operated by the Nordic Optical Telescope Scientific Association at the Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos, La Palma, Spain, of the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias, proposal 41-027. Figures 2 and 3 are available in electronic form at
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    ABSTRACT: X-ray emission from stars much more massive than the Sun was discovered only 35 years ago. Such stars drive fast stellar winds where shocks can develop, and it is commonly assumed that the X-rays emerge from the shock-heated plasma. Many massive stars additionally pulsate. However, hitherto it was neither theoretically predicted nor observed that these pulsations would affect their X-ray emission. All X-ray pulsars known so far are associated with degenerate objects, either neutron stars or white dwarfs. Here we report the discovery of pulsating X-rays from a non-degenerate object, the massive B-type star ξ(1) CMa. This star is a variable of β Cep-type and has a strong magnetic field. Our observations with the X-ray Multi-Mirror (XMM-Newton) telescope reveal X-ray pulsations with the same period as the fundamental stellar oscillations. This discovery challenges our understanding of stellar winds from massive stars, their X-ray emission and their magnetism.
    Nature Communications 06/2014; 5:4024. DOI:10.1038/ncomms5024 · 10.74 Impact Factor

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